WATCH: The Putin Files: PBS interviews John Beyrle

Published here as part of our ongoing look at the mythology and reality of Putin during the run-up to the presidential election. This is one of several lengthy interview conducted by PBS and used in part for its regrettably one-sided documentary Putin’s Revenge, which we featured here a while back. PBS have made the full interviews available online as part of their “media transparency project.” John Beyrle is a former US ambassador to Russia We think this interview in particular is worth watching in full.

Beyrle comes over as an intelligent observer of a different calibre to the profoundly ignorant and arrogant commentators we see in much Western mainstream media. Yet his group-think or institutional blindness is still very much on display.
He acknowledges the severe blow dealt to US/Russian relations by US abandonment of the ABM treaty. He acknowledges the encroachments of NATO. He acknowledges that Russia perceived US meddling in Georgia and Ukraine as a threat to their “near-abroad”.
Yet he still claims to find the cooling of relations between the two countries to be baffling, and views Putin’s famous 2007 Munich speech as being an arrogant assertion of independence rather than an almost inevitable, or at least predictable, result of the US actions he details.


newest oldest most voted
Notify of
peter12345678
Reader

Fascinating comments! I was hopeful to get some observations on my observation of this video….. No ideologue here. Beyrle is balanced, objective, and realistic in his approach. He is no Putin apologist either. My take is, he is old money ( his group-think or institutional blindness is still very much on display). Beyrle is the last of a dieing breed who has been driven out (via Machiavellian intrigues) by new money. ( the profoundly ignorant and arrogant commentators we see in much Western mainstream media ). New money, being rapacious ideologues, are NOT ignorant themselves. They know their target audience,… Read more »

Frank
Reader
Frank

Yeltsin the reluctant but sincere democrat, like when he bombarded the Russian Parliament in 1993.

Marcus
Reader
Marcus

I posted this on another thread – but got no response! Does no one think this is worthy of discussion? Putin weeping in public for no discernible reason in September 2014. Some hysterical commenters at the time thought he knew something they didn’t and was weeping for the end of the world or some such. I have no idea.But it’s intriguing as an aspect of his personality and as a possible pointer — in’t it?? We’re all familiar with the ghastly fake scenes of Obama, Cameron and the rest fake ‘crying’ to order at some scene of public mourning. It’s… Read more »

Catte
Reader

How real is this footage? There were press articles covering that visit and none of them mention Putin broke down and sobbed. Which they likely would.

bevin
Reader
bevin

There were a million reasons for a man to weep in 2014. They still exist, we ought all to be weeping continuously. And bursting into tears whenever we think of our country-which ever it might be.
What is the problem? Ought he to be pretending not to be moved? Or ought he not to be open to being moved?

Carrie
Reader
Carrie

I watched the video expecting to see some stupid thing that didn’t measure up to what you said at all. You know a typical “Putin is crap” video.
But yes. He actually is sobbing. And frankly that worries me a bit. I hope other people watch it and comment.

Marcus
Reader
Marcus

Man how hard is it to get a conversation going around here? This place used to have lively discussions!
Ok anyhow I give up :-/

vexarb
Reader

Marcus, never give up, never say die. Without your picture of Putin’s tears I would never have confided in public (as I now do) what I confided to a friend some years ago: that I thought Putin was human — a rare thing indeed among today’s politicians. As a rule I believe Auden’s rule: public faces are neither nice nor kind. But I saw a picture of Putin’s divorce, and the man looked shattered. Reminded me of an uncle who took cyanide because his wife ran away. Also came across a picture of Putin sitting apart at a party, quietly… Read more »

George Cornell
Reader
George Cornell

I took it , like you, of a striking juxtaposition between the Western Press’s manufactured image of Putin and the human reality evidenced in this clip.
I started questioning the official profile when Victoria ‘fuck the EU” Nuland – Geoffrey Pyatt’s tape was made public. Nothing has come along which makes me have any belief in the Press portrayal. Angels are unlikely to reach the top in any political system, to be sure.

George Cornell
Reader
George Cornell

Virtually unmentioned in the Putin anti-Russian debate is the entire issue of cheating at the Olympics. Russia has been suitably pilloried and penalized for systematic organized cheating, based on the important revelations of one or two whistleblowers. But the Western Press has piled on but in a way that is decidedly one-sided or imbalanced. Cheating in sports is hardly a Russian problem or invention and the Western Press with the collaboration of International Athletic organizations, and the widely publicized McLaren report seem to have used Russia as a convenient scapegoat to cloud or cover up what is a widespread endemic… Read more »

Catte
Reader

How well-sourced are these particular allegations of Russian infamy?

George Cornell
Reader
George Cornell

Very, very. See the McLaren report inter Alia. But the problem goes back decades, for much of the athletic world, not just the Russians. The allegations of whistleblowers in the Russian case are supported independently and objectively by WADA testing results on old samples, with better techniques.

Catte
Reader

You think WADA is really independent – given the current geopolitical realities? And you don’t think the fact the report relies so heavily on the testimony of a guy who was fired from his job in Russia and them emigrated to the USA before spilling the beans about Russian state involvement in athlete doping is just a tiny question mark over its reliability?

George Cornell
Reader
George Cornell

I like your skeptical bent. As someone who has been lied to his whole life, by his church, by his government, by his teachers, and especially by his Press, there aren’t enough grains of salt to go around. I share it.
But I happen to know a lot about this issue and have studied it independently as a senior academic. Don’t lose sight of my main point. That cheating has been ubiquitous and the Russians have been guilty scapegoats.

Catte
Reader

Ok, you believe doping is equally as much a problem in the West as in Russia, and you may be right. But bottom line is you are using your claim of evenhandedness to leverage acceptance of the McLaren report without bothering to consider its objective validity. How valid can any report be when it’s issued in such an atmosphere of xenophobia and political manipulation, based on the testimony of a guy who has been sacked by the authority ‘on trial’ and which specifically refused to consider any points or explanations offered by the people accused? There’s only one rational answer… Read more »

George Cornell
Reader
George Cornell

As an afterthought I want to make clear that the current geopolitical climate has very much to do with the messages on cheating. The current narrative which tries to make it out that cheating is all about the Russians is indeed both false, demonstrably, and a product of that climate. This includes the McLaren report but to understand its bias those behind the scenes gave McLaren a very narrow remit, I.e. The Russians. I hope that helps.

George Cornell
Reader
George Cornell

Catte, you are making some assumptions which are unwarranted. Actually the whistleblower came along in step with better assays and it was possible to test the veracity of the claims against saved samples. This was indeed independent and even this has been confirmed by yet another way of assessing cheating which is in the publication process.
We aren’t far apart here but don’t defend the indefensible. There have been fair-minded people involved in this process, you will have to take my word for it.

jantje
Reader
jantje

I defenitely have something against the state of Israel as I do to the state ofu.s.a.,but not of it’s people ,be it jews or americans.The spin ofcourse is that if you are against Israel you are against jews,rediculous.

johnjeffery11@gmail.com
Reader
johnjeffery11@gmail.com

Is US exceptionalism arrogant independance? Israel controls the USA and they are the real power you cannot criticise.

uncle tungsten
Reader
uncle tungsten

You certainly can criticise the Israel governments grip on USA policy. See Russia Insider for a brilliant critique and bold statement. Ghere are a number of reports and they have the other media wetting their nappies.

George Cornell
Reader
George Cornell

RI has had several articles on Israel. Could either you or admin provide a link to the article/statement you seem to disagree about?

Admin
Reader

@George Cornell: This is the one many people are having a problem with. Uncle Tungsten may be referring to something else.
It’s Time to Drop the Jew Taboo

vexarb
Reader

That is the correct link. I have read the piece and I approve it. Read GK Chesterton, “The New Jerusalem”, published 1920 but prophetic. GKC was a Christian Zionist well before the US backwoodsmen made this popular, and a chauvinistic little Englander who approved of the Jews likewise having a little country they would be willing to die for. But unlike any other writer on the new Zion, he foresaw the very problem that RI has only now woken up to: if the Jews want to live in little Israel, they must give up their ownership of most of the… Read more »

George Cornell
Reader
George Cornell

i am very uncomfortable with asking Jews to give up positions they have earned just because they are Jewish. You don’t mean that, do you?

vexarb
Reader

@George Cornell. If your question is to me, I am not “asking Jews to give up positions they have earned just because they are Jewish”; like GKC I am in favour of Jews holding positions by merit in fair and open competition with Gentiles — both in Israel as in other countries. But Jews are definitely over represented in countries outside Israel, and I do not believe that academic Jews are 10 times more learned than academic Gentiles, nor are business Jews 100 times more astute than their Gentile competitors. Nor is Israel 10 to 100 times more worthy of… Read more »

George Cornell
Reader
George Cornell

I am not in a position to comment about business leaders, and I share your concerns about what has happened and continues to happen in the Middle East. As Vexarb points out, all it takes to leverage influence is vote as a monolith and position oneself as a group mono thematically. This has been true in Quebec for the nationalists as much as it is true for the Middle East. There is no better indication that this happens than the extremely predictable take on any world event by disparate commentators, especially on the Middle East, and the stereotyped violent resistance… Read more »

vexarb
Reader

@George, Catte. Yes, unfair competition and collusion under cover of a PC taboo of silence are definitely among my concerns, and RI has given them a voice. I believe what George says about the Jews probably having been selected for intelligence by going through a series of “survival sieves”; but I also believe, as Catte points out, that statistical differences between different groups of humans are tiny compared to the differences between individuals within those groups. In other words, contrary to the great Dr. Jim Watson, I was not surprised when an old Woman (whom he confided to me he… Read more »

Catte
Reader

“The Jews” don’t want to live in little Israel. “The Jews” don’t want any single thing because they are not a single entity. They are a race of human beings with diverse opinions and desires. This is the reductionist evil at the heart of racism – diminishing a group of people to a simplistic “other.” It is as useless, erroneous and racist to ascribe a singular motive to “the Jews” as it is to do the same to “the Russians.”
We encourage people who comment here to aim a bit higher on the intellectual and ethical spectrum.

vexarb
Reader

@Catte. It would take too much space to list the reasons why I applaud your every word above — and gave a like. Let it suffice for explanation that I live in Israel, have Jewish family and Jewish friends, and my best of such friends belong to the Israeli Communist Party. As for racism, as soon as Obombast came to power a friend in the USA accused me of racism because I objected to the way Obomber started piling fresh corpses on top of the heap bequeathed him by Bush and Clinton. So I have been there before. What worries… Read more »

George Cornell
Reader
George Cornell

I like your clarity and point well made, applicable to Jewish influence in the US.

Catte
Reader

Obviously it’s not racist to condemn Obama for the same crimes as Bush – in fact there’s covert white-guilt racism involved in trying to excuse him (which was one reason why he was such a handy puppet). You don’t have a problem with Jews having undue influence. You have a problem with certain ideas having undue influence. You think this is due in part to an unrepresentative number of Jewish people in high places. But maybe that needs more thought. If they were replaced by Gentiles who shared the same views – do you think that would be an improvement?… Read more »

George Cornell
Reader
George Cornell

Ok, have read it. This would indeed be against the Jewish people if what is said is untrue. But it would be helpful to know what parts are untrue. This seems like a good forum to clarify inaccuracies and errors in such an article. Why has no systematic rebuttal appeared? it would be helpful in the context of this site, as the behaviour of BBC and Guardian moderators of comments related to Israel has aroused suspicions. I am sure in other contexts you would and should not tolerate general anti-ethnic or ad hominem comments, and your assertion that this article… Read more »

Chris Rogers
Reader

In my humble opinion, upon viewing said article, it screamed out ‘anti-semitism’ and has done great damage to Russian Insider. As such, I’m pleased a number of contributors feel as I do. I’m not one for censorship, but this article should not be distributed in Leftist circles, leave that honour to the Right.

George Cornell
Reader
George Cornell

Let me ask again. A rebuttal of the arguments and claims made would be helpful. Screaming that the article screams anti-semitism, in the opinion of a single individual is not evidence-based, even though he claims he is one of many. So Chris Rogers now claims to be speaking for many. Where have we heard that before? Certainly some of the claims are not easily rebutted but bringing some fact and light to this discussion seems preferable to emotive statements. Chris Rogers believes this article should not not be distributed in leftist circles. And who decides what should? Chris Rogers? Or… Read more »

Chris Rogers
Reader

George,
A longer response was submitted, but lost in the ether I’m afraid. Now, and just for the record, please repeat my opening sentence, namely: “In my humble opinion”, given said statement, I speak for myself, so please don’t infer I’m speaking for anyone else. I stand by what I’ve stated, namely, the article by focusing solely on Jewish folk is ‘anti-semitic’.

George Cornell
Reader
George Cornell

Thanks for clarifying Chris. Historically banning books and ideas not to mention sexuality has tended to come from those whose personal interests were being threatened, rather than from benign avuncular concern. There has to be very good reason to do it if at all.

Afriend
Reader
Afriend

The Bausman article & it’s replies have sparked a number of posts on the LifeBoat site, worth checking out as they don’t seem to have moderating censorship problems like the Duran apparently has.
http://members5.boardhost.com/xxxxx/index.html?1516616704

Admin
Reader

Alexander Mercouris and has already answered your questions in the Duran but briefly: 1) The article claims that words such as “Zionist”, “war party”, “Bilderberger”, “neocon” etc are euphemisms for ‘Jewish.’ Clearly they are not, since many Jewish people are none of these things and many neocons, Zionists etc are not Jewish. 2) The article claims Russophobia is almost uniquely Jewish when it simply is not. Russophobia has been a European phenomenon for centuries and many of the most prominent current Russophobes are not Jewish 3) Ideas and opinions should be opposed with ideas and opinions, not with slurs and… Read more »

George Cornell
Reader
George Cornell

Thanks Admin for providing these links. There is a common tendency to take articles which one disagrees with and try to discredit them by attacking one part , its weakest, and then summarily dismiss the whole, or the person, as a debating tactic. There was a lot said and Russia demonization surely may have untraceable roots.

George Cornell
Reader
George Cornell

Thanks

Admin
Reader

The RI statement was an attack on Jewish people not on Israel. We think it was misguided

John A
Reader
John A

You can tell when the Guardian is lying. They don’t open comments. Classic case this morning with the Observer blaming Putin for all the woes of Syria.

vexarb
Reader

“He acknowledges….” and “yet he still claims…”. Not contradictory, given his profession. Everyone knows that an ambassador is a gentleman who is paid (and well paid) to go abroad and lie (with the greatest possible sang froid and suavity) for his country.

rtj1211
Reader
rtj1211

And the US MSM speaks truth to power?!
Really, which MSM challenges the CIA on their role in murdering JFK, their role in the Warren Commission cover up?
Which MSM was challenging the war agenda in Iraq, rather than trumpeting Cheney propaganda?
Which MSM challenges the farce of oligarchy in the US wrongly portrayed as democracy??
No one in the US speaks truth to US power…..ever……